“Before the verdict, Cottrell told the court the matter ‘set a dangerous precedent for the state’, saying the video was a form of free speech. ‘It was aimed at a tenet of a religion, not a whole class of people,’ Cottrell said.”
Indeed. If Blair Cottrell, Christopher Shortis and Neil Erikson had made a video mocking some aspect of Christianity, would they be fined $2,000 ($1,600 US) for “inciting serious contempt of Christians”? Of course not. “Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act” is meant only for some groups, not others.
I don’t know anything about Blair Cottrell, Christopher Shortis and Neil Erikson beyond this story, but note how pejoratively ABC.net.au frames it: “On the first day of the hearing, anti-racism protesters clashed with far-right nationalists outside court, forcing police to intervene.”
The implication is that Cottrell, Shortis and Erikson are racists, as those who are protesting against them are “anti-racism protesters.” What race is Islam again? What race is beheading? I keep forgetting. Also, what does it mean that they are “far-right nationalists”? The establishment media uses the smear term “far right” for anyone who stands against jihad terror and Sharia oppression, and cheerfully conflates actual racists and anti-Semites with people who simply oppose terrorism and the inhumane aspects of Sharia. This is designed to intimidate uninformed people into fearing to support them, and frighten them into thinking it is wrong to agree with such people.
“Far-right nationalists found guilty of inciting serious contempt for Muslims after mock beheading video,” by James Oaten, ABC.net.au, September 5, 2017:
Three far-right nationalists who staged a mock beheading to protest against the building of a mosque in Bendigo in central Victoria have been found guilty of inciting serious contempt of Muslims.
Blair Cottrell, Christopher Shortis and Neil Erikson have each been fined $2,000 after they filmed the beheading of a mannequin with a toy sword outside the Bendigo council offices in 2015.
The so-called ‘Bendigo Three’ argued that their video, which was released on the United Patriot’s Front Facebook page, was an act of free speech that focused on a specific tenet of Islam.
But the magistrate disagreed, arguing the video was clearly intended to create serious contempt for or ridicule of Muslims.
“We live in a community which is inclusive and that each individual deserves the right to live their life peacefully,” Magistrate Peter Hardy said.
It is the first time a criminal charge under Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act has been tested in court….
On the first day of the hearing, anti-racism protesters clashed with far-right nationalists outside court, forcing police to intervene.
Before the verdict, Cottrell told the court the matter “set a dangerous precedent for the state”, saying the video was a form of free speech.
“It was aimed at a tenet of a religion, not a whole class of people,” Cottrell said.
He added that the group could not control who watched the video and therefore target audience was “subjective”.
“Conclusion drawn from watching the video is out of my control,” Cottrell said.
But the prosecution said the video was clearly intended to create “serious contempt” towards Muslims, given the video’s target audience and the fact it coincided with a campaign to stop the building of a mosque.
“They’re picking up the acts of criminals … and purporting that to arouse hatred of Muslims in general,” prosecutor Fran Dalziel told court.
She added the law did not require the prosecution to establish whether people’s views changed as a result of the video, but rather to establish the intention.
“They were playing to the camera,” Ms Dalziel said.
Professor Spencer Zifcak, the former president of Liberty Victoria, said he did not expect the decision would set any significant precedent.
“It’s been well recognised for a long time that in international law and in domestic law in Australia, in relation to racial vilification, that hate speech of whatever kind ought not to be justified or covered just by saying its an example free speech,” he said….